Google is rolling out new features for Google Play Books that will make life easier for audiobook lovers. Google Play Books users can now set however many bookmarks they want in an audiobook, so that they can go back to favorite parts, for starters. There's also a new Smart Resume feature, integration with Google Assistant's Routines feature, better speed controls, and support for Family Library in Google Play Books in thirteen additional countries. The new features are live in the Google Play Books app as of this writing, and, for the most part, affect both audiobooks and standard-format books being read out loud with the Google Play Books Read Aloud feature.
The Family Library feature of the Play Store is now available for books in thirteen new countries in total. If you reside in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Chile, Mexico,South Africa, or Japan, you can now share select books with up to five family members, just as you would with apps and games. In Japan, however, this applies only to audiobooks for now. The new Smart Resume feature, meanwhile, makes a book's narration pick up at the beginning of the last word or sentence when interrupted, rather than coming back in the middle of a word. Speed controls have also been enhanced, and books can be read as slowly as half speed, or up to three times normal speed. Finally, the Routines feature of Google Assistant, triggered by asking it to "tell me about my day," can now incorporate starting up an audiobook from your Google Play Books library.
These new features represent a greater focus on audiobooks after beginning to sell them directly in the Play Store not long ago. All of the features in this update are meant to enhance the audiobook experience and allow users to spend more time listening to their literature. This move also comes shortly after enabling audiobook support for Google Home, making reading at home as easy as asking Google to read something from your collection. The expansion of the Family Library feature into more countries, meanwhile, makes all sorts of content more accessible for Google Play users around the world.